Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to care Thangka

To Roll
Due to the quality of the natural pigments used, the thanka is quite delicate and must be rolled and unrolled with great care.
Pull each end tightly
Pull each end firmly
Rolling requires two people – one to hold each end.
Each person should pull firmly from each end. The person on the top end should hold the stick area only, not the brocade, as this will pull and cause creasing. The person on the bottom end must ensure the rod does not stick to the brocade and pucker the fabric. Make sure the covering cloth is not creased and covers the painting properly. Start rolling from the BOTTOM end of the thanka and roll firmly towards the person at the top end while continuing to hold the thanka tautly throughout. It is very important that the thanka is rolled firmly so that the painting does not crease.
Roll to the side of the canvas
Roll to the side of the canvas
When you reach the level of the painting (canvas area) roll and pull the cloth to the side of the canvas only. It is EXTREMELY important that no pressure from the hands is ever placed over the canvas. Ensure that the thanka is rolled symmetrically – i.e. straight and even on both sides or else creasing can again occur. Every three or so rolls grasp the edge of the brocade and covering cloth and gently pull outwards with each hand to ensure that the painting and cloth are wrinkle free. If a second person is unavailable to hold the thanka from the top, hook the cloth ties over a nail etc so pressure can be maintained on the thanka throughout the rolling process.

To Secure
Secure the rolled thangka at the sides
Secure the rolled thangka at the sides
At the top of the thanka there are two thin cloth ties – these tie together to hang the painting. These must be untied and used to secure the rolled thanka. Pull them past the line of the painting (canvas) so that they will only put pressure on the cloth section (again, this is extremely important).
Wrap around each side and tie off.
Place in a protective tube
Place in a protective tube
If transporting or storing, the rolled thanka can be wrapped in bubble wrap (if there is room in the tube) and placed in a hard case, such as a tube. It is also good to place a ball of bubble wrap in each end of the tube to cushion the thanka and hold it securely. Reverse this process for unrolling to hang (one person job).

Protection for the painting
Once hung the Thanka should be placed out of direct sunlight. Natural pigments are significantly more colourfast than acrylics, but other dyes applied are prone to fading. Sunlight will also damage the brocade and the canvas. The thanka should also not be placed in damp areas and should never be wet – water will cause the pigments to run (not waterproof like synthetic paints).
Apart from colourfastness natural pigments also have superior quality and depth of colour. Natural pigments give a far better overall finish than synthetics. If the thanka is handled correctly, then no problems should occur and the thanka will have a much longer life expectancy than one completed with synthetic paints.